U.S. Businesses at Risk for Major Cyber Attack, IT Pros Say

IT Pros Perceive Gap Between Threat of a Major Cyber Attack and U.S. Businesses' Ability to Defend Against It

U.S. Businesses at Risk for Major Cyber Attack, IT Pros Say

BSA Press Release July 24, 2002

Washington, D.C. - The Business Software Alliance (BSA), with its media partner Business 2.0 Magazine, released the results of a poll today of information technology professionals in which half of all IT pros (47%) say that U.S. businesses are at risk of a major cyber attack in the next 12 months. Additionally, nearly 2-in-3 IT Pros (62%) say the risk of a major cyber attack on the U.S. has increased since 9/11. Moreover, more than 2-in-3 IT pros (68%) say there is a gap between the threat of a major cyber attack and U.S. businesses' ability to defend against it. Nearly 3-in-4 IT Pros (71%) say that U.S. businesses should devote more time and resources to defending against cyber attacks than it did to addressing Y2K issues.

These are the findings of an Ipsos-Reid US Public Affairs poll conducted on behalf of the Business Software Alliance between July 8, 2002 and July 10, 2002. Ipsos-Reid US Public Affairs interviewed 602 IT professionals via Internet from a panel of more than 20,000 IT professionals. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within +/- 4.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire IT professional panel been surveyed. Ipsos-Reid US Public Affairs conducted two additional surveys on behalf of the BSA regarding cyber security in order to add context to the IT professional survey. The first was a telephone survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, conducted between July 11 and July 14, 2002. The margin of error is +/- 3.1%. The second was a study of 1,094 U.S. Internet users conducted online. The margin of error is +/- 3.0.

IT Pros Say Risk of Major Cyber Attack on U.S. Businesses has Increased Since 9/11.

Almost 2-in-3 IT pros (62%) say the risk of a major cyber attack has increased since 9/11.

  • Fewer than 1-in-10 IT pros (7%) say the risk of a major cyber attack has decreased since 9/11.

IT Pros Say U.S. Businesses Likely to Face Major Cyber Attack Within Next Year.

Half of all IT pros (47%) say it is likely that U.S. businesses will be subject to a major cyber attack in the next 12 months.

  • Among those IT pros most expert on security issues - those responsible for their company's computer and Internet security - 60% feel a major cyber attack is likely within the next year.

Majority of IT Pros say U.S. Businesses' Ability to Defend Against Major Cyber Attack Improved Since 9/11.

More than half of IT pros (58%) say that U.S. businesses' ability to defend against a major cyber attack has gotten better since 9/11.

  • Few IT pros (4%) say U.S. businesses' ability to defend against a major cyber attack has gotten worse since 9/11.

IT Pros, However, Think U.S. Businesses Not Prepared for Major Cyber Attack.

Nearly half of all IT pros (45%) say U.S. businesses are not prepared for a major cyber attack, and 7% of IT pros say U.S. businesses are not at all prepared.

  • Only 1-in-5 IT pros (18%) say U.S. businesses are prepared for a major cyber attack, and only 1% of IT pros say U.S. businesses are extremely prepared.

IT Pros Say There is Gap Between Threat of Major Cyber Attack and U.S. Businesses' Ability to Defend Against It - And That Gap Not Decreased Since 9/11.

More than 2-in-3 IT pros (68%) say there is a gap between the threat of a major cyber attack in the U.S. and U.S. businesses' ability to defend against a major cyber attack.

  • Among those IT pros most expert on security issues - those responsible for their company's computer and Internet security - 75% say there is a gap between the threat of a major cyber attack and businesses' ability to defend against it.

2-in-3 IT pros (66%) say the gap between the threat of a major cyber attack and U.S. businesses' ability to defend against it has either increased (40%) or remained the same (26%) since 9/11.

  • Few IT pros (32%) say the gap between the threat of a major cyber attack and U.S. businesses' ability to defend against it has decreased since 9/11.

IT Pros Say U.S. Businesses' Response to Threat of Cyber Attacks Should Be Greater Than Efforts on Y2K, But They Sense Level Of Effort to Defend Against Cyber Attacks Actually Less Than Businesses' Y2K Efforts.

Nearly 3-in-4 IT pros (71%) say U.S. businesses should devote more time and resources defending against cyber attacks than they did addressing Y2K issues.

  • Only (10%) of IT pros say U.S. businesses should devote less time and resources.

Only a third of IT pros (33%) say U.S. businesses are devoting more time and resources defending against cyber attacks than they did addressing Y2K issues.

  • Half of all IT pros (47%) say U.S. businesses are devoting less time and resources.

IT Pros Feel Their Companies Making Important Strides to Ensure Their Computer Networks Cyber Secure.

Among the BSA checklist items that IT pros say their company "has already undertaken" or "will undertake in the near term":

  • Nearly all IT pros say every computer has anti-virus software installed (94%); every network uses a firewall to prevent unauthorized access by hackers (92%); and their organization uses backup software daily (83%).
  • About 2-in-3 IT pros say their company's IT staff has basic security training (69%); that computer passwords are changed every 90 days (69%); that their IT administration checks for security updates at least every 7 days (67%); and that their organization explains to all employees on a regular basis the need to be cyber secure (67%).

U.S. Internet Users Perceive Greater Concerns Than IT Pros About Net Value Relative to Risk of Doing Business on Internet.

More than 2-in-3 IT pros (70%) say they are concerned about security on the Internet but the benefits and convenience of the Internet outweigh their concerns.

  • About half of all adults (56%) say they are concerned about security on the Internet but the benefits and convenience of the Internet outweigh their concerns.

U.S. Internet Users Have As Much Faith As IT Pros in Ability of Technology Industry to Solve Internet Security Problems.

Nearly all U.S. adults (84%) and nearly all IT pros (89%) say they have confidence in the technology industry to develop tools that will give them more control over online security.

    For more information on this release, please contact: Thomas Riehle President Ipsos-Reid US Public Affairs 202.463.7300 Jeri Clausing BSA 202.530.5127

    The survey was conducted by Ipsos-Reid US Public Affairs, the Washington, D.C.-based division of Ipsos-Reid, which is part of the world's third largest polling and market research organization, the Ipsos group, based in Paris. Ipsos-Reid US Public Affairs conducts non- partisan, objective strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of U.S. and international organizations.

    The Business Software Alliance is the foremost organization dedicated to promoting a safe and legal online world. The BSA is the voice of the world's software, hardware and Internet sectors before governments and with consumers in the international marketplace. Its members represent the fastest growing industry in the world. BSA educates computer users on software copyrights and cyber security; advocates public policy that fosters innovation and expands trade opportunities; and fights software piracy. BSA members include Adobe, Apple Computer, Autodesk, Bentley Systems, Borland, CNC Software/Mastercam, Compaq, Dell, EDS, Entrust, IBM, Intel, Intuit, Macromedia, Microsoft, Network Associates, Novell, Sybase, and Symantec. For more information, visit www.bsa.org.

    Business 2.0, a magazine about insight, tools and advantage in business, is published out of the FORTUNE Group at Time Inc., an AOL Time Warner company. For more information, visit www.business2.com.

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